Readings for Sunday, April 15, Second Sunday of Easter
Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31
“Receive the Holy Spirit…”
Jesus uses these words in the Gospel, in part, to prepare the disciples for the fact that they are now being sent out. Jesus sends them to preach and to heal and to be peace in the world in the same way that Jesus had been sent to do and to be those things. Through our own share in the one Spirit of Christ – we are no less sent.
“Receive the Holy Spirit” is also the words that the bishop uses in the Rite of Confirmation. Right now in our diocese we are in the height of the season for that sacrament. I have been fortunate this year to be with our bishop and be present for a number of Masses where the sacrament of confirmation has been received by the young people of the diocese. It is the same Spirit – the one Spirit in Christ – that these young people receive. It is this same Spirit that sends them out to be disciples of the Lord.
Consider for a moment the mystery that is present to us today in the very continuity of the Sprit. Jesus himself gives the Spirit to those he sends out to continue his ministry. Jesus today, present in the person of the minister, imparts the same Spirit. By the Spirit we are vested with the gifts and the virtues that are its fruit. It is the Spirit that testifies within us.
This Easter time is a blessed and grace filled time for us all to reflect on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is also a time to discern more deeply where the Spirit is calling us to move. We can discern where it is that we are being sent.
Make no mistake; no one is exempt from this challenge that comes to us by the dignity of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us begun by our baptism and completed and perfected by the sacrament of confirmation. Whether we are newly confirmed, or a sponsor or a parent, we are all sent out to serve God by serving our brothers and sisters.
Let this Easter time be a period of discernment for us all. Let us listen and be attentive to the Spirit’s testimony in our heart.
Let us all look within ourselves so that we become more and more present to the gifts that God himself has shared with us by his Spirit, and then ask ourselves how it is that He is calling us to share those gifts with others.
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Deacon John L. Davis serves at Sacred Heart Parish, Chestertown, Md.